Airport worker jailed over air miles scam

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The Independent Online

An airport worker who claimed five million passenger air miles using 18 bogus accounts to enjoy first-class flights around the world was jailed for nine months yesterday.

An airport worker who claimed five million passenger air miles using 18 bogus accounts to enjoy first-class flights around the world was jailed for nine months yesterday.

Satpal Singh, a check-in agent for Air Canada, also gave free trips to friends and accepted a string of complimentary "frequent flyer" gifts.

Isleworth Crown Court in London heard that his two-year "betrayal of trust" was so "sophisticated and sustained" that police did not have the resources to investigate it in detail. But officers, concentrating on a three-month period, found 18 air-mile accounts. They also found he had made numerous alterations to computer logs to cover his tracks.

Andrew Evans, for the prosecution, said the evidence suggested that had he not been caught, his crimes would have "escalated".

Singh, 24, an Afghan in the last stages of being granted British nationality, admitted 22 charges of false accounting and obtaining and attempting to obtain property and services by deception between August 2001 and June 2003.Singh, from Hounslow in west London, also asked for 79 other false- accounting offences to be taken into consideration.

In rejecting pleas for a non-custodial sentence, Judge Jonathan Lowen told Singh: "You developed a sophisticated routine which involved careful forethought and planning and a sustained and repeated campaign... over about two years."